What is Podcasting?

…and 10 Irresistible Benefits Your Business

According to dictionary.com, a podcast is “a digital audio file, usually part of a themed series, that can be downloaded from a website to a media player or computer”.

The growing popularity of podcasting is reflective of the steady decline in traditional radio, the new ability for listeners to develop custom playlists, and the huge variety of programming available for consumption. Even individuals with busy schedules can listen to podcasts ‘on demand’, and the explosive growth of smartphones has made it convenient for easy listening.

When I first launched my Affiliate Buzz podcast 11 years ago, the production process was complex and a much greater challenge than it is today. I still remember struggling through the recording of our second episode in December of 2003 from the Lahaina Shores Hotel in Maui. At the time, bandwidth was still at a premium and most listeners only had dial-up access. And yet, 11 years later I am still hosting the very same podcast to an ever-expanding audience. The success of the podcast has had a profound impact on my business life, and a podcast of your own can certainly accomplish the same for your business too.

What was Podcasting Like Back Then?

In the early days of podcast production, there was no iTunes, and smartphones were nothing but an imaginative pipedream. You’d never hear anybody asking, “What is a podcast,” because the word didn’t even exist yet. Listeners were also limited—they could usually only download the audio files and play them back on RealPlayer or Windows Media Player, while the technologically savvy ones could stream the audio. Others would burn CDs and play them in their cars, but whatever option the listener chose, playing back podcasts was inherently difficult.

The Soaring Rise of Podcasting

With the tremendous technological advances in recent years, the golden age of podcasting has been ushered in. It’s never been easier to listen to podcasts, especially now that 61% of American owned smartphones, all come with built-in podcast players. Apple has even forged deals with automakers so that drivers can easily listen to podcasts from iPhones in their cars.

All of this has led to the rapid surge of podcast listeners. The digital media platform iHeartRadio surpassed 50 million registered users faster than even Facebook and Twitter, which is reflective of how wildly popular podcasts have become. The fact that iTunes has over a billion podcast subscribers further illustrates just how mainstream podcasts are in today’s world.

How Do People Listen to Podcasts?

Podcast listeners today can choose the option that best suits their routine:

  • Desktop or laptop computer: Tune in to podcasts from their desk or with their computer speakers during work or leisure time
  • Tablets and smartphones: Great options for those on the go, such as drivers and travelers
  • MP3 Players: Convenient for those at the gym, walking, or running
  • WIFI radio: Perfect for the car or anytime you’re on the fly

Why Do People Listen to Podcasts?

Podcasts are so popular because they’re versatile and people can listen for a variety of reasons. Some listeners create custom playlists, others play their favorite shows, and some users listen to their favorite podcasts on demand.

Who is Podcasting?

Since podcasting is so customizable to fit the specific needs of your brand, a wide range of individuals publish their own podcasts, including:

  • Speakers – TED Talks: The viral web series has surpassed one billion views, and the TED radio hour podcast on NPR has been very successful.
  • Coaches and Trainers – Triathlete Training: Eric Schwartz’s podcasts offer triathlon training advice and bring in experts in topics ranging from strength, nutrition, endurance, and training.
  • Healthcare Professionals – Dr. Joseph Mercola: The New York Times Bestselling author keeps his listeners informed with the latest health news that affects their lives.
  • Celebrities – Adam Carolla: The popular radio personality and television host offers a daily comedy podcast on his website
  • Local Businesses – Martin Brothers Funeral Homes: Their weekly podcasts offers information and advice to their listeners, establishing their funeral home as a knowledgeable and sensitive option in their area
  • Colleges and Universities – Harvard Medical School: The nation’s highest ranked medical school offers podcasts that feature cutting edge research, as well as interviews, analysis and insight into their educational programs.
  • Media Outlets – CNN: The cable news network offers audio and video podcasts offering news, interviews, and analysis.

As can be seen by the diverse variety of podcasts, listeners are tuning in to hear news, entertainment, sermons, self-help, training, comedy, lectures, among countless other options. Whatever industry your business is in, you can be sure that there’s an audience of potential customers that you can tap into by starting a podcast.

Video vs. Audio

While both video and audio have their own place and distinct advantages, audio is generally easier to consume. Audio can be absorbed passively while working or exercising and it goes over especially well with commuters driving to work. The fact that you don’t need to be focused on a screen means that an audio podcast grants you access to the large audience of consumers that listens to podcasts while multitasking at work or at home.

Why are Businesses Gravitating towards Podcasts?

Podcasts now have tens of millions of listeners, and hosts are experiencing record growth and soaring popularity for their brands. Over the years, I’ve personally felt the value of ten key improvements from hosting Affiliate Buzz podcasts:

  1. Recognition: Establish your personal or corporate brand as an authority in your marketplace giving you a distinct competitive advantage
  2. Brand Loyalty: Build your credibility and establish trust in the eyes of your listeners, furthering the confidence that they’ll have in what you have to sell
  3. Growing Audience: Both consistent followers and periodic listeners will contribute to the ever-increasing audience of your business
  4. Relationships: Form intimate connections through the power of the human voice and speaking directly to your audience, one-on-one
  5. Longevity: Podcasts typically have a shelf-life of 2-3 years. Even shows that aren’t on evergreen topics can be stored in your archives for listeners to access
  6. Authentic Content: Business podcasts are rich in detail and highly relevant for customers and potential clients
  7. Repurpose the Material: Podcasts can be rewritten as articles, blog posts, presentations, and videos, further advancing your marketing strategy
  8. Highly Sociable: Shows are social-friendly and likely to be shared, liked, and tweeted on listeners’ social network profiles
  9. Fresh Content: Create original content for your website, social media, directories, and newsletter from your shows
  10. Mobile Friendly: Podcasts can be accessed by the surging numbers of people who use tablets, smartphones, and wifi radio

Blogging vs. Podcasting

While many businesses consider starting a blog before launching a podcast, it’s important to consider that there are 450,000,000 English-language blogs relative to the 212,000 podcasts. The math is simple: the world of blogging is super-saturated and there can be 1,000 blogs on a particular topic that has only a single podcast. It’s no wonder that podcasting is suddenly appearing on the radar screen of a growing number of businesses.

A Long History – Affiliate Buzz

It’s hard to believe that 11 years have passed since we first launched the Affiliate Buzz podcasts and crossed into unchartered territory. Today, our podcast is well-known as the first and longest running podcast in the affiliate marketing industry, having taught myriads of students the ins and outs of online marketing. It’s clear that podcasting is here to stay, and one of the notable benefits is that they require only a minimal amount of risk. Whether you’re hoping to boost your authority in the marketplace, increase sales, or possess a growing audience predisposed to your message, podcasting can help you accomplish your business goals.

Challenges of Podcasting

At times, we faced significant difficulty in producing ongoing podcasts. It required a serious time commitment and maintaining a consistently high-level of quality shows. But looking back, the tremendous benefits outlined above have made continuing our podcast a no-brainer.

We can help you create a podcast for your business and begin reaping the benefits as well. There is no need for anxiety, as we’re the most experienced in the business and can guide you along the process seamlessly—to get started, simply choose the option below most relevant for achieving your business goals.